Building Trust

Trust seems like a timely topic to be considering as some of you have explicitly named it in your new belief as something you want to work on and because some of the behaviours you named when we explored your reactive tendency actually damage trust (not delegating, not sharing knowledge about how something is done, not giving air time to others, not naming the elephant in the room, not being fully present with others...).

Think of someone you trust in this moment.

What specific things do they do that build trust with you?

Look for those traits in these, the four pillars of trust:

1. Tell the truth

This is about acknowledging your mistakes, without making excuses or blaming. Stepping up and apologizing when you have had a negative impact. Giving all sides to the story not just the side that makes you shine. It’s amazing how willing we are to forgive each other. Just think about what happens when we don't come clean – Lance Armstrong adamantly denying the truth about his doping for years. How much damage did he do to how well he is trusted?

2. Be real.

Show who you are – warts and all. So it’s about daring to share what you are thinking or feeling even though it might feel uncomfortable. Choose your moments for sure! This is not about walking around naked. But when you choose to be vulnerable and real in a relationship that’s important to you - you are demonstrating trust : I am taking off my mask and showing you the real me and trusting you will still accept me. And that will encourage trust back.

3. Give without expectation.

This is about showing your genuine commitment and care for their well-being. It’s really about respect and love. We perhaps get this more easily when it comes to customers and going the extra mile for them. We know a delighted customer with whom we have a good relationship will ultimately translate into more sales and referrals. But beyond that, its just the right thing to do. Taking the initiative to give them something they need and not explicitly expecting anything in return but doing it because you genuinely care - will help you both know - it’s not all about you. And sometimes that giving can be simple empathy  - staying in the conversation until you truly understand their perspective.

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4. Keep your promises.

This can be the big obvious promises but also all the smaller agreements you make by saying yes to meetings or deadlines. Being repeatedly late for meetings is something to examine and adjust; if a deadline needs extending – negotiate that in advance of the actual deadline. This one demands we be more discerning about what we say yes to so we can indeed keep our promises.


Luckily repairing trust doesn’t have to be complicated or arduous. Going back to your raters and being upfront about what you are working on is an act of building trust.

So in addition to that, think : Is there someone in particular you want to build/repair some trust with this week? Who is it and what will you do?


p.s. If you want an easy to read but straight forward business book on this read "Getting Naked'.  It is fable-based learning about building trust at work and with customers. The author Patrick Lencioni deals with the three key fears we have and gives some practical truths about how to work through them by being honest. His premise is if you can't admit your weakness to others you can't be vulnerable and therefore won't be trusted.



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